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Location Antarctica
Central coordinates 55o 28.84' West  61o 29.03' South
IBA criteria A1, A4ii, A4iii
Area 325 ha
Altitude 0 - 500m
Year of IBA assessment 2015

Site description Gibbs Island is a small island (21.8 km2) located ~25 km to the southwest of Elephant Island, bordered to the north by the Loper Channel and to the south by the Bransfield Strait. A thin section of land, known as The Spit, joins Furse Peninsula in the east to the main part of Gibbs Island in the west. This IBA comprises Furse Peninsula at the eastern extremity of Gibbs Island, The Spit and a small ice-free area on Gibbs Island west of The Spit.

A range of lichens, mosses, algae and liverworts have been recorded on Gibbs Island. On the south coast of the island, ~800 m west of The Spit, moss communities grow at altitudes of ~100 m (Allison & Smith 1973). Mosses, lichens and algae are also found at the eastern extremity of Gibbs Island growing at elevations of 250 – 300 m. (Lindsay, 1969 in Allison & Smith, 1973).

No long-term meteorological records exist for Gibbs Island. However, meteorological observations made in the Elephant Island group between 10 Dec 1970 and 26 March 1971 show the mean daily temperature was 1.4° C with minimum and maximum temperatures of below – 5° C and 15° C respectively (Allison and Smith, 1973). Cloud cover and precipitation were frequent, with over 415 mm falling as snow or rain over the 107 days, and a mean wind speed for the survey period of 7.2 ms-1 (ibid.).

Key Biodiversity Approximately 1672 pairs of Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) breed within the IBA, split between a large colony located at southern Furse Peninsula and a small colony on the east side of The Spit (Croxall and Kirkwood 1979). Colonies of Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) breed in several ice-free areas in the southern and eastern parts of the site, constituting 30 and 160 pairs respectively in 1977 (Croxall & Kirkwood 1979). A large number of Southern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialoides) also breed in this area, on Furse Peninsula and to the west of The Spit, constituting around 18,680 pairs in 1971 (Furse 1978).

Non-bird biodiversity: None known.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Macaroni Penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus breeding  1977  1,672 breeding pairs  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
Chinstrap Penguin Pygoscelis antarcticus breeding  1977  30,360 breeding pairs  poor  A4ii  Least Concern 
Southern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialoides breeding  1971  18,680 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  1971-1977  50,712 breeding pairs  poor  A4iii   

Protection status None

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Gibbs Island. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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